July 12, 2008
Originally published May 30, 2004
I stayed at a place called "The Hotel California" when I was in Martin Antonio, about a mile away from a Costa Rican National Park. I had some kind of big, flowery bush growing right up to the handrails of my second-story porch and a three-foot iguana lived there. I went out for a morning cigarette and said "buenas dias" to him every day. He just sat there in the bush and munched leaves.
I was accustomed to my friend, the giant lizard, and I kinda liked having him in that bush. He didn't bother me and I didn't bother him-- plus, his presence added to the tropical atmosphere. If you're in Costa Rica, you're SUPPOSED to see some giant lizards, right?
But The Day Of The Monkeys was something else. I bought a pack of Belmont cigarettes the night before and I was smoking one of those locally-manufactured sticks when I went outside to say good morning to my lizard. I heard a loud ruckus in the trees. It wasn't screeching or chattering that I heard--- it was simply the sound of large objects bending limbs and rattling the leaves. I watched to see what it was.
The next thing I know, I have a FUCKING TWO-HEADED MONKEY looking at me from about a foot away in the same goddam bush the iguana lived in. I took a step back and glanced down at my cigarette. What the fuck did Costa Ricans put in their tobacco? Back in my college days, I smoked some heavy shit, but I NEVER saw a two-headed monkey before, not even in my worst nightmares.
All of a sudden, the trees were swarming with monkeys, eating mangos and dodging some kind of brown birds that dive-bombed them with the aggression of a southeast Georgia mockingbird. I realized then that I hadn't seen a two-headed monkey. I saw a mama with a baby on its back. There were several such pairs racing through the trees. The babies hold on so tight while mama climbs and jumps that they LOOK like one monkey with two heads.
I watched them for almost an hour; then, they went away.
I finished my pack of Belmont cigarettes, but I didn't buy any more. The sight of what I thought was a two-headed monkey in an iguana bush at 6:00 in the morning was more than I could stand.
Yeah. I had serious adventures in Costa Rica.
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